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Barrie grandmother running under Ontario Party's 'true conservative values' banner

'I’m your everyday average person and I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for the last two years watching what’s been happening to our province and Canada,' says Barrie-Innisfil candidate
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Grace Dean is the Ontario Party's candidate in Barrie-Innisfil for the upcoming provincial election.

The pandemic was the tipping point for Grace Dean.

“I’m not a politician and I don’t have a degree in political science,” begins the south-end Barrie grandmother. “I’m your everyday average person and I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for the last two years watching what’s been happening to our province and Canada.”

As regulations were introduced during the pandemic imposing what she calls “draconian mandates,” the pro-life Christian found fellowship in the Ontario Party and its leader, Derek Sloan, who opposed restrictions.

Founded in 2018, the Ontario Party lists freedom, family and faith as its attributes, and espouses “true conservative values.”

Consequently, Dean, who hails from Orillia and has called Simcoe County home most of her life, signed on as the party’s Barrie-Innisfil candidate for next month’s provincial election on June 2.

“Maybe I can make a change, maybe I can do something to stop all this nonsense. So I decided to run,” she tells BarrieToday. “This is a huge step for me.

“But I was so concerned and am still concerned about the path that (Progressive Conservative Leader Doug) Ford is going and it’s a very, very bad path he is going on. I don’t trust the man," Dean added. 

She believes Ford, whom she initially supported with great enthusiasm, has been following the lead of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and she anticipates that masks and lockdowns will again be part of our future.

Dean, a former employment counsellor who remains unvaccinated and became involved in the Ottawa-bound convoy which opposed restrictions, says she is fighting for freedoms and for the right for individuals to make their own choices about vaccinations.

“The Ontario Party does not want him going down that path. We want change,” Dean says. “They’re (the party) for freedom, and so am I.”

She refers to the freedom to worship and freedom of speech. The party’s platform includes an emphasis on family, which Dean believes is the cornerstone of community. She sees her pro-life position as an extension of her faith in which God is seen as the creator of human life and she believes ending a pregnancy is akin to murder.

“I know people will not like what I have to say about that, I know that. But I know other people will agree with me,” she says.

For Dean, there’s a little more to the story. In 1977, she says she had an abortion because she wasn’t ready to get married and she wanted a career. She calls it the worst decision of her life and a selfish one that haunted her many years later.

The Ontario Party, she added, wants to repeal the so-called bubble-zone legislation, which bans protests outside Ontario’s abortion clinics to protect free speech for all legally held views.

Dean also cites truth in government and transparency as an important aspect of the party’s approach.